Microsoft to lay off around 1,900 staff from across the Xbox, Activision Blizzard, and ZeniMax teams

Detail of the buttons on a Microsoft Xbox Series X wireless controller.
(Image credit: Phil Barker/Future Publishing via Getty Images)

Update: This story has now been updated with a response from a Microsoft spokesperson.

Microsoft is set to lay off around 1,900 members of staff from its video game workforce, it’s been reported, as the company aligns itself “on the best opportunities for growth” following its acquisition of Activision Blizzard last year.

IGN reports that Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer announced the redundancy plans in a memo sent to staff, in which he explained that since the acquisition of Activision, the company has been aiming to settle on a strategy with a “sustainable cost structure that will support the whole of our growing business.”

The 1,900 redundancies represent roughly 8.6 per cent of the 22,000-person team. In the memo, Spencer described the decision as “painful” and said that “the Gaming Leadership Team and I are committed to navigating this process as thoughtfully as possible.”

Spencer continued: “The people who are directly impacted by these reductions have all played an important part in the success of Activision Blizzard, ZeniMax, and the Xbox teams, and they should be proud of everything they’ve accomplished here. 

“We are grateful for all of the creativity, passion, and dedication they have brought to our games, our players, and our colleagues. We will provide our full support to those who are impacted during the transition, including severance benefits informed by local employment laws.”

Furthermore, Spencer said that the company will “continue to invest in areas that will grow our business and support our strategy of bringing more games to more players around the world.” He added: “Although this is a difficult moment for our team, I'm as confident as ever in your ability to create and nurture the games, stories and worlds that bring players together.”

It's also worth noting that the president of Blizzard Entertainment, Mike Ybarra, announced that he's leaving the company today (January 25). He referred to his role as "an absolute honor," and added: "I want to thank everyone who is impacted today for their meaningful contributions to their teams, to Blizzard, and to players’ lives."

In a statement sent to TechRadar Gaming, a Microsoft spokesperson said: "We will share more about the status of upcoming games, services, and partnerships in the future."

If you’re on the lookout for more games to play, be sure to check out our lists of the best PC games, as well as the best Xbox Series X games.

Catherine Lewis
News Writer, TechRadar Gaming

Catherine is a News Writer for TechRadar Gaming. Armed with a journalism degree from The University of Sheffield, she was sucked into the games media industry after spending far too much time on her university newspaper writing about Pokémon and cool indie games, and realising that was a very cool job, actually. She previously spent 19 months working at GAMINGbible as a full-time journalist. She loves all things Nintendo, and will never stop talking about Xenoblade Chronicles.